Too busy to blog substantively as it is St. George’s Day …
St. George, doing his best to rid the world of endangered species
God’s Own Lunch
Gin and Marmalade cocktail (sort of a mutant Gimlet)
Have a room with a large number of people with one political opinion, and they may mistake that for objectivity
– Perry Metzger, remarked in a samizdata chat channel relating to this post.
Here is a fun little article in The Independent about psychiatrists who think Donald Trump is mentally ill, and it is their professional duty to warn people. They are saying this sort of thing:
This sounds like complete nonsense, but it turns out that “clinical evaluation for predictions of future dangerousness, have become integral to the function of the legal system” — so it is qualified nonsense.
I don’t know about psychiatry; one commenter dismisses it as junk science. Most of the other commenters think it is a bit silly to attempt to diagnose a politician from viewing public appearances.
I think experts, especially when direct measurement of the phenomena is impossible, have a tendency to mistake shared opinions for objectivity. Politics amplifies that effect. See also climate science.
With the Tories overtaking Labour to provide the main opposition in Scotland to the dominant Scottish National Party, disability activist Fiona Robertson has decided to embark on some swing voter outreach:
News reaches us from Russia, that, despite 70 years of Leninism and now an assault by the Cultural Marxists, notions of equality do not appear to be taking off at Aeroflot, reportedly with a fleet of newish aircraft, now Russia most powerful ‘brand’ (surely ‘Kalashnikov’, but I digress).
One case has been thrown out of court. The concept of someone actually needing to be up to the job appears to have survived in Russia.
The fuel penalty was quoted as every extra kilogram of weight costing an extra 800 roubles (£11; $14) annually on fuel, but Aeroflot has other points.
Perish the thought that the fat and the short are not wanted, it’s all down to job-need.
In one case, the complaint is stark.
Aeroflot’s point of view:
Quite, you can’t have stewardesses so wide that they would need to be punted down the aisle with a trolley, that’s just not safe.
But a Russian Trade Unionist, helpfully called Boris, is on the warpath.
Boris is keeping rather quiet about what happened to women with Beria it seems.
Now does this resistance to PC blandishments augur well for Russia, in that it might have a cultural meta-context where, if other silly and evil notions of statism and/or banditry can be got rid of, it might lay the basis of a free and prosperous commonwealth? And are we in the West closer to that goal?
Guido quotes ex-UKIPer Douglas Carswell, who is stepping down as an MP, and who will, he says, be voting Conservative in the general election:
Unless: Carswell’s political career has not, despite his present protestations, actually ended, and his actual political career is yet to end. In failure.
Guido’s early commenters say that the Conservatives wouldn’t let Carswell back in, i.e. let him fight a seat for them, and that the UKIPpers are all fed up with him, in short that his career is even now ending in the very failure that he says he does not feel. But I think it altogether likely that Carswell is telling the truth. Carswell switched to UKIP at just the moment when UKIP itself was migrating towards being a slightly nicer National Front. Remember when UKIP used to be rather libertarian? The way Carswell still is? I do.
But I also agree with Carswell that getting out of the EU was far more important than whatever other policies UKIP says it has. A rat, say those commenters, leaving a sinking ship. I partly agree. UKIP is indeed sinking. It had just one important policy and that is now happening. UKIP agrees with itself about nothing else, and is already disintegrating. You would only vote UKIP now to make quite sure that Britain does indeed leave the EU. But once Britain really has left the EU, UKIP will become a mere echo of a very remarkable but now passing moment in British political history. Oh, the remains of UKIP will stagger on for a few years. Political parties in decline always take for ever to vanish completely. But already, British voters are asking: What is UKIP now for? What does voting UKIP now mean? And they are getting about twenty different answers, depending on which UKIPer they ask, which is the functional equivalent of no answer at all.
LATER: I just listened to that entire conversation, linked to above (here it is again), between Carswell and Mark Littlewood of the IEA. The biggest news in it, for me, is that, following Brexit, Carswell’s next target is the fiat money banking system. I wish him well. I hope that effort does not end in failure. A man of his talent and his connections could make a big difference.
Tim Newman does a fine job of fisking at length an article by Rachel Nuwer on the BBC (natch!) titled: How western civilisation could collapse.
Tim is not impressed…
Read the whole thing.
Ah, stop pretending to be above it all. If you are on the UK electoral roll, who will you vote for? If you are not, who would you vote for?
Who will win is scarcely worth discussing. But, as the post from politicalbetting.com I linked to says, there are a few questions to which the answer is not so certain:
In Justin Trudeau’s Canada, if I mention the Islamist ties of Akbardzhon Dzhalilov, the 22-year-old suspected of carrying out the subway bombing that killed 14 in St. Petersburg, Russia on Monday, am I guilty of Islamophobia?
What if I also mention that Khalid Masood, the man who mowed down scores of pedestrians, killing three, and stabbed a police officer to death outside the British Parliament last week, was a convert to Islam? Am I guilty of a crime against Canada’s new politically correct speech codes?
I admit, what constitutes a Muslim terror attack is not always black-and-white. Was London’s Masood driven by Islamist fervor or by his long, troubled criminal past? Or maybe a bit of both?
Canada has been heading in this direction for a while now, part of a growing list of nation states denying one of the most most fundamental civil liberties: freedom of expression.
After reading an unrelentingly grim article by Suzy Hansen, describing the collapse of the rule of law in Turkey in the aftermath of the failed coup in July 2016, I noticed one problem with what had been written.
I recalled a dinner in Istanbul with a couple bon vivant UN diplomats, less than a week before the abortive uprising. During our congenial discussions, fuelled by some excellent Turkish craft beer, the three of us realised that we were using terms like ‘right’, ‘left’, ‘nationalist’ and ‘conservative’ to mean rather different things as we were British, Turkish and Czech respectively. By Turkish definitions, as I was neither religious nor nationalist, I was automatically on the left, regardless of the fact I am a laissez faire free trader. The Turkish chap ‘assigned’ me to the centre-left, to differentiate me from socialists or communists… it seemed vastly amusing at the time (of course that might have been the beer laughing).
Although Suzy Hansen’s linked article in the New York Times is not without merit, this made me realise how unwise she was to bandy about terms like ‘left’ and ‘right’ when describing Turkey to an American readership: the bad guys of the article are on the right, so perhaps some US readers might conclude Erdogan’s AKP are something like the Republicans? Er, not really. In fact not in the slightest. Given the radically different cultural, political and historical frames of reference between the USA and Turkey, there are simply no meaningful analogies to be made other than at the far fringes.
It is rather hazy what ‘left’ and ‘right’ mean in Britain or America these days, let alone what they mean elsewhere. Comparing political labels in different countries is always fraught with risk and more likely to confuse than enlighten. Michael Jennings of this parish often becomes exasperated when folk in London try to compare UK and Australian political parties, as the attempt usually falls at the second fence… and this is between two countries with vastly more shared history.
I’m not joking. I wrote last year about how many of the international bureaucracies are blindly asserting that higher taxes are pro-growth because government supposedly will productively “invest” any additional revenue. And this reflexive agitation for higher fiscal burdens has been very prevalent this week in New York City. It’s unclear whether participants actually believe their own rhetoric. I’ve shared with some of the folks the empirical data showing the western world became rich in the 1800s when fiscal burdens were very modest. But I’m not expecting any miraculous breakthroughs in economic understanding.
That is, if French presidential candidate Jean-Luc Mélenchon wins the coming election. I would still call that unlikely, but he is rising in the polls. In case you’re wondering, Our France would qualify as part of Our America because of its overseas departments French Guiana and the French Antilles. Although I am not sure that the present members of ALBA – principally Venezuela, Cuba, Nicaragua, and Ecuador – will greet these parts of France Overseas with unmixed joy.
Quoting the article from Le Figaro linked to above:
There is more on this story from Libération: What is the Bolivarian Alliance that Mélenchon wants to join?
That story links to a video showing a TV studio discussion in which an interviewer brought up Mr Mélenchon’s proposed change of direction for France with his spokesperson, Clémentine Autain, who “was obviously unaware of this point of her candidate’s program” – and could hardly keep a straight face when told about it.
As ever, the translations are a joint project between my French O-Level and Messieurs Google et Bing. Corrections are welcome.
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